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Family Time hosts reception honoring 2009 Women of Achievement

Monday, November 30, 2009

Anne McIlhany

Every year, FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center honors women who have made a significant difference in the community through their selfless acts of service and generous contributions of time. More than 250 women have been chosen for this honor since 1990.

On Nov. 17, FamilyTime, which provides counseling, advocacy and shelter for victims of domestic violence, held a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception in honor of the 2009 FamilyTime Women of Achievement.

Judy Cox, executive director of FamilyTime, spoke about the history of the organization. What began over 30 years ago as a community concern has grown into an outreach that has made a positive impact on thousands of lives.

For 32 years, FamilyTime has remained steadfast in their mission, which is to “provide an outreach program and accessible services to families and individuals in crisis through counseling, crisis intervention, information and referral and shelter.”

Some of the ways FamilyTime meets the needs of their clients include: providing free counseling, support groups and a 24-hour crisis hotline for victims of abuse; “The Door,” an emergency shelter for battered women and their children; legal advocacy, professional counseling for non-victim issues, parenting education and anger management classes.

FamilyTime chooses to honor women every year who reflect the spirit of the community and who serve as role models.

This year, the following 13 stellar women have made enormous contributions to the community through service and achievement:

Pat Chandler -Education

Pat was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Auburn, Alabama, attending Auburn University and graduating with a BS Degree in Business Education.  Pat worked for 20 years in various capacities in the business environment before joining Lone Star College-Kingwood in 1993. In 2003 she started the Academy for Lifelong Learning―a program with a $10 yearly membership fee that offers free classes for senior adults taught by volunteers. Starting with no budget for programming or salaries for instructors, she solicited volunteers and grew the program to serve more than 2,000 individuals. Pat is a board member of The Friendship Center and chairs several committees on the Community Chamber of Commerce of East Montgomery County. In 2004, she was named the chamber’s volunteer of the year. Pat and her husband, Tom, have been married for 33 years.  They moved to Kingwood in 1980 and have 14 assorted nieces and nephews and a spoiled Beagle-Bassett mix dog, Ranger.

 

Jennifer Morris-Homemaker

Jennifer is very involved in her children’s lives assisting with everything from science projects and dances. She serves on numerous committees and boards and in 2007 was named the Mission Northeast Volunteer of the Year. When the local Meals on Wheels organization dismantled, she continued to give meals to those in need from her own savings.  She has become the executor of estate to those in need so they can have government funding provided and she tutors elementary children at no charge. When her daughter was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease, she went out in the community to educate on the disease, as well as get “gluten free” food products at local grocers.  Jennifer is currently working on her Elementary Education Teaching Certificate at Lonestar College Kingwood.  Jennifer and her husband, Carlos are raising their two daughters, Morgan and Rachel.

 

Debbie Norris-The Arts

Debbie grew up in Punxsutawney, PA.  Following high school, Debbie went to nursing school and from there, joined the US Air Force as a medical services specialist.  Following several moves around the country and the Middle East, Debbie and her husband, Chris, a tenor in the new Hope Presbyterian Church Choir, settled In Kingwood with her two sons, Doug and David. Debbie immediately joined the Kingwood Chorale and the Strawbridge UMC choir as a singer. She became the Music Administrative Assistant at the church and an Executive Assistant to the Kingwood Musical Arts Society. In addition to handling all the logistics of putting on several concerts throughout the year including concert dresses, meals, seating charts, programs and tickets, Debbie coordinated a trip of more than 200 people to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York. Debbie is also a long-time volunteer and trainer with the American Red Cross.

 

Cherrie Ledoux-Entrepreneur

Cherrie was born in Manila, the Philippines and raised in Vienna, Austria. She was raised within a very large extended family throughout the world for which food meant love, family, tradition and togetherness. She learned classic European cooking the old-fashioned way, apprenticing with chefs in Vienna.  In Prague, The Czech Republic, she started her first company, catering mainly to the various embassies and consulates as well as major companies. She continued her culinary career in the United States settling in Kingwood with her husband and son. She started her company, A Grand Affair, entirely on her own. It has grown to be a quite successful business and supporter of many local non-profit organizations. Cherrie is a member of several chambers and organizations and recently became a Unites States Citizen.

 

Patty Kupritz-Business

Patty has had a myriad of job positions including a welder, secretary, truck driver, restaurant manager and sales representative. She has parlayed her wide range of experiences into several successful businesses including Pop’s Ice House in Kingwood, Rafael’s in Forest Cove, Fiesta Azteca on West Lake Houston Parkway and Porter Cocktail Lounge in Porter. She holds regular benefits and fundraisers at all her establishments including helping families of fallen policemen, and those injured in accidents who need help with medical bills. As an equestrian trainer, she teaches special needs children how to ride and take care of horses and helps people with their pain as a registered massage therapist. Patty lives in Kingwood with her husband, Hilton, 5 dogs, a cat and an undetermined number of fish. She has a daughter and three grandsons and trains her four Tennessee Walker horses during her free time.

 

Lisa Dempsey-Community Activist

Lisa is the Senior Team Leader with Keller Williams Realty Northeast.

Under Lisa’s leadership, Keller Williams has run several charity galas for local non-profit organizations, including FamilyTime. One of Lisa’s most notable accomplishments is the creation and development of a free monthly concert series for the community at Kings Harbor in Kingwood.  In addition to providing a family friendly venue with a live band in front a beautiful backdrop for up to 500 people a month, Lisa has invited local non-profit organizations to collect needed items and distribute information. Organizations that were helped include FamilyTime, Blue Star Moms and The Mission. Lisa lives in Kingwood with her husband, Robert, and four children, Brianna, Eric, Lindsey and Luke.

Through her experiences with Lindsey, a child with special needs, Lisa learned how to be an advocate when it became necessary to push others to remove limiting beliefs on what they thought Lindsey could achieve.   Along with a group of friends, she has become a driving force in providing inclusive opportunities for individuals with special needs in the community.

 

Millie Garrison-Human Services

Millie has coordinated outreach projects for the Humble Area Assisted Ministries for the past 5 years. Under her supervision, HAAM has been able to give out more than 1.1 million dollars in 2009. She has been the co-chair of the fundraiser “Raise the Roof” and oversees HAAMS Back to School and Seasons of Sharing programs that provided school supplies for more than 2300 children and gave more than 7500 toys to families in 2008. Millie was also the first education director at HAAM and created new on-site education programs for adults, recruiting volunteers, establishing curriculum and developing resources. She is also active in her church’s mission program. Millie lives in Kingwood with her husband, Wayne and their children Alexa and Pierson.

 

Lisa Niccum-Volunteer

Lisa was born and raised in Houston, Texas. As owner of D&D Collision and Callaways Body Shop for more than 20 years she sponsored many local events including the Humble BBQ Cook off and Rodeo and the Humble Police Association. She has also provided a school bus for shelter residents to attend the Houston Rodeo and concert. Lisa is on the Humble Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and has helped with many functions including golf tournaments, ladies night out and In the Pink Luncheons. She is a mentor for Spring Area Ministries and helps the Humble Police Association raise funds for scholarships. Lisa is also a member of the ABWA - American Business Women of America- Woven and Artesian chapters and Professional Connection. She won volunteer of the year for 2008 and 2009 through Penworth Publishing Academy Awards of Networking, Women of Excellence 2008 for ABWA and Women of the year for Professional Connection 2009. She and her husband, David, live in Humble and raised their two children who are now 29 and 22 years old. 

 

Lorena Funez-Women’s Advocate

Lorena was born in Laredo, Texas. She has been a caseworker for FamilyTime for 9 1/2 years. Lorena assists women with protective orders, immigration, food stamps and helps to secure housing. She assists fellow staff members with community training and has assisted at meetings with state officials to advocate on behalf of victims. Since she is bi-lingual in Spanish and English, she is able to assist clients with language translations, particularly in court. Lorena lives in Atascocita with her husband, Max, and they have two sons, Isaac and Elias.

 

Janet Little RN, CNM-Medical

Janet has been a Certified Nurse-Midwife for over 10 years. She received her Masters Degree in Nursing from UTMB Galveston in May of 1998. She has worked in several OB/GYN practices serving the women of our community, and in 2001 became the first midwife to deliver babies at Kingwood Medical Center.  In 2007, she along with fellow midwife and business partner, Polly Logan opened Reunion Women’s Health & Birth Center. Reunion is a freestanding birth center that offers family –centered maternity care and natural birth. Janet and her husband, David, Little have one daughter, Megan, who is a sophomore at Kingwood Park High School.

 

Polly Logan, RN, CNM

Polly has been involved in women's health care for 25 years. She received her Bachelors of Nursing from UT Austin and her Masters in Nursing (Midwifery) from UTMB Galveston.  She has practiced OBGYN nursing in Texas, New Jersey, Illinois and Hong Kong. Currently she owns, along with her friend and fellow midwife Janet Little, Reunion Women's Health & Birth Center.   Polly's other passion is canine rescue. She, along with her three beagles Nike, Mia and Elliott, volunteer for Twyla's Friends Canine Rescue and Houston Hound and Beagle Rescue. They foster homeless dogs until they can find their forever family.

Polly’s son Nick is a student at UT and her daughter, Valerie, attends Kingwood High School

 

Cheryl Johnson-Special Recognition

Cheryl’s company, CJ’s Promotions has shown support for local entrepreneurs as well as talented individuals in music, art, drama dance and athletics by arranging and participating in events that showcase their talents. She has donated her time and money to countless local organizations and served on the Lake Houston YMCA’s Capital Campaign Committee. Cheryl has also been active in many political campaigns including congressional, judicial and city council races. She worked in both George Bush Sr. and George Bush Jr. campaigns. Cheryl co-chaired the victory 98 campaign and phone bank headquarters in Humble when Gov George Bush, Jr. ran for re-election and has served as both a precinct chairman and election judge. She has been a district, state and national delegate to several Republican conventions and served as president of the Kingwood Area Republican Women’s club.

 

Minda Kaltenbacher-Spirit of FamilyTime

Minda is from the Philippines and came to the United States in 1960 as a nurse at the Univ. of Texas Medical Branch. Minda was a Key member of FamilyTime serving on the golf tournament committee to raise funds for the shelter. She has also worked in the Career Closet at the Shelter. Minda has volunteered as a cashier at the FamilyTime thrift store since it opened its doors 13 years ago. She also assists with Project Mammogram, HAAM, Society of St. Stephens Atascocita Library and Archers Acre, the Humble Seniors Center garden.

While a Kingwood Women's Club member she volunteered at North Belt Elementary School and at the Kingwood Library Book Sales.

Minda has been married to her husband, Ed, for 48 years and they have 3 sons and 8 grandchildren.

Photo: The 2009 Women of Achievement: back row from left, Patty Kupritz, Debbie Norris, Jennifer Morris, Cherrie Ledoux, Lorena Funez, Pat Chandler and Lisa Niccum; middle row, Cheryl Johnson, Polly Logan, Janet Little and Lisa Dempsey; front row, Millie Garrison and Minda Kaltenbacher. Photo by Pat and Ray's Studio

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